Follow-up to international cooperation with Arab SAIs

After 5 years of Sharaka programme for 8 supreme audit institutions

The Netherlands Court of Audit is preparing a new cooperation and knowledge sharing programme to strengthen the position and influence of supreme audit institutions (SAIs) in the Arab region. 

The current Sharaka cooperation programme will end on 27 and 28 October 2021 with, among other events, an online meeting of the presidents of the participating SAIs. The SAIs of Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Jordan, Iraq, the Palestine Territories and Sudan have been working with the Netherlands Court of Audit in a variety of areas since 2016. In recent years the programme has focused on auditing health care and the extent to which government policy contributes to realising the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (such as SDG 3, Good Health and Wellbeing). The audits have ranged from, for instance, government policy on perinatal care and emergency care, to the prevention of traffic accidents and government vaccination and family planning programmes. New forms of publication were discussed and intensive consultations were held with citizen stakeholder groups, professionals and parliament. Integrity, the relationship between SAIs and ministries and other themes were also covered by the Sharaka programme.

Ministry providing financial support

Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, contacts have been by means of webinars and other online meetings since 2020. The cooperation programme is being financed by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs as it reflects the minister’s concern for sustainable democratic transition in the MENA region. Court of Audit Board member Ewout Irrgang said, ‘International cooperation among SAIs is inspirational. Circumstances differ in every country. Different experiences help us see which audit approach and publication form produce the best results. And so how we can learn from each other.’

External evaluation

An external evaluation concluded that the 5-year Sharaka programme has helped SAI auditors learn how to apply audit theory in practice, also in an audit of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The art of bringing audit findings to the attention of the public, parliament and other stakeholders has been an important lesson learned. It can be developed further to deepen accountability and knowledge of the role of SAIs.

Cooperation and knowledge sharing strengthen the position and role of supreme audit institutions. The Sharaka programme has therefore contributed to good governance in the participating countries.

A follow-up programme is currently being developed, in part with the same participants but SAIs from other countries can also take part. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will also finance this follow-up programme.